Andruw Still in Elite Company?

Far from being able to sell high on Andruw Jones, his agent Scott Boras will need to find other ways to try and convince teams to take a flyer on the .220-hitting center fielder. There are the not-so-shy comments from Andruw about wanting to remain a Brave, but we've been hearing those since the middle of last season, so I take them as nothing but lip service. Boras may point to Jones' average production and his minimum production over the last decade to make his case. Here is a stat run he will likely use:

Most Consecutive 25-Homerun Seasons

Rank Player Consecutive Years Time Span
1 Babe Ruth 15 1919-1933
1 Barry Bonds 15 1990-2004
3 Willie Mays 13 1954-1966
4 Lou Gehrig 12 1927-1938
4 Jimmie Foxx 12 1929-1940
4 Sammy Sosa 12 1993-2004
4 Manny Ramirez 12* 1995-2006
8 Eddie Mathews 11 1952-1962
8 Carlos Delgado 11* 1996-2006
10 Reggie Jackson 10 1971-1980
10 Jim Thome 10 1995-2004
10 Andruw Jones 10 1998-2007
10 Vladimir Guerrero 10 1998-2007
10 Alex Rodriguez 10 1998-2007

*Ramirez has 20 HRs in 2007 & Delgado has 24.

That's impressive company, but I still don't think it will get the big long contract done that they think it will. Baseball is usually a game of "what have you done for me lately." Still, there is speculation out there by several writers that there will be takers for Jones. After the outfield attrition last Sunday in San Diego, at least one writer is thinking there's room for AJ in Petco next year:

The Padres are considering the merits of a one-year offer to center fielder Andruw Jones if Mike Cameron departs in free agency and the Braves don't sign Jones. It's doubtful that the Padres would make a competitive multiyear proposal for Jones, but he is coming off a down season, and the club's payroll flexibility for 2008 would allow the Padres to offer a one-year guarantee above his $13.5 million salary this year. In 65 at-bats at Petco Park, Jones has batted .393 with nine home runs.

The all-knowing Ken Rosenthal is taking the opposite approach to Jones' bad year, thinking that because he may be more affordable, more teams will have interest.

Jones, 30, isn't the center fielder he once was, but is still very good. What's more, his offensive drop-off could increase the number of teams interested in him, because he no longer is in position to seek a monster contract.

Put it all together -- including the fact that Boras is the agent -- and Jones' return to Atlanta appears unlikely. The Orioles, Nationals or some other team will award him a substantial multi-year deal.

Heck, even the lowly state of Connecticut thinks Andruw is a goner this year.

So bon voyage, Jones.

Good luck in Boston and New York. You're going to need all that luck you can get there because those fans are going to eat you alive.

If Brave fans are lucky the public address announcer next year at Turner Field will be saying "Starting at centerfield: Willie Harris."

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